Ultra-marathoner runs 50 miles on treadmill at zoo

Published: Dec. 11, 2011 at 2:44 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2011 at 2:45 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Dean Schuster skipped the gym on Saturday, but not the workout.

"I'll probably run for about 12 hours today," Schuster said without losing his laser-like concentration on the treadmill. "I'll get 50 miles in, maybe more. We'll see."

His motivation is pretty clear as noted by the signs around him advertising a charity group called "Running for Penguins". The group sponsors a marathon in Antarctica.

"I am running 50 miles all day long in the penguin exhibit here at the Riverbanks Zoo in support of penguin conservation," said Schuster.

It may seem impossible for most people, but his family isn't shocked.

"He's not really crazy, but he's not normal either," said Schuster's son, Kai. "He's like the perfect, awesome dad you'd want."

"I've been running for five years," said Schuster. "Not in a row. In episodic fashion."

Schuster is an ultra-marathoner whose happy feet are headed to the South Pole. He signed up for the Antarctic Marathon this March.

"There were spots open for people who were interested in this cause, so I basically had to compete with others for the privilege of raising money to go," said Schuster.

Now he's on display, right next to his favorite animals. And those who came to see feeding time at the zoo left with a little inspiration.

"Very surprised about not only running a marathon, but two marathons to bring awareness to his cause," said zoo-goer Justin. "It's really phenomenal."

Schuster's daughter, Alyssa, isn't even embarrassed by her dad's display like most daughters would be. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

"I'm proud of my dad for doing this and it's cool how determined he is," said Alyssa.

While it seems while some may march to their own beat, others, like Schuster, run.

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